Writing is a full time job. The process of generating ideas and editing content is demanding. Each detail matters. What should you do to maximize your efforts? Consider these habits:
- Restful Sleep. Every now and then you may be consumed with a project that interferes with rest. The result? A messy draft that requires even more time to edit. Log off. Shut down the computer. Your work will still be there tomorrow.
- Balanced snacks and meals. Don’t forget to eat. Sometimes work will suck you in and you will be tempted to skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner. But that half an hour of munching is essential to your performance. Caffeine doesn’t suffice as a meal. Nourish your soul. It will nourish your writing.
- Planning. Map out your goals in advance. What do you want to accomplish during the day? How about the week? Month? Year? Scheduling your tasks may minimize the opportunity to procrastinate. Prioritizing ahead will give you a clear vision. It’s the difference between meeting or missing a deadline. Plan to succeed and plan to fail. It’s all part of your growth as a writer.
- Self Care. Pamper yourself. Spoil yourself. Brew an extra cup of tea in the morning. Spend time with yourself. A facial or soak in the bath tub can revitalize you. That fishing trip with your pals? You earned it!
- Unplug and unwind. Don’t forget to enjoy your life offline. There is a world that exists beyond the internet. Learn to appreciate it. Have you kissed your significant other today? Have you talked to your family? Make sure that your home is still your home. Not your sole place of work.
- Read. Yes. A lot. Articles, magazines, novels, quotes, comics- whatever gets you in the groove. Not only does reading strengthen your writing, but it gives you a break.
- Exercise. Ugh. I know. But do you really want a square butt? A desk that encourages standing up may be helpful as well but a nice afternoon stroll or kickboxing class at the gym can relieve stress.
- Communication and networking. Don’t box yourself in. Writing can be pretty solitary so branch out. Keep the lines of communication open. Make friends and genuine connections. Uplift others. Find publications that value your perspective and work towards developing those relationships. As a writer, you have options. You can choose to spend your time writing something that you believe in or wasting energy on the wrong people and places.
- Indulge in other passions. Take a day or two off writing to do other things. Been a while since you’ve painted? Or maybe you play in band. All of those other interests are what set you apart. Don’t neglect them. If you do, you may quickly burn out and find it hard to keep focused. Fill yourself before you embark on the quest of filling others.
- Keep learning. Don’t stagnate. Innovate your craft everyday. When you challenge yourself to meet the next goal or complete the next task, you are establishing a foundation. This process takes time and every day is a new opportunity to discover something new.
Creatives have the unique ability to create something from nothing. When it gets hard and you find yourself struggling, remind yourself to keep going. If you need some time to reassess, grant yourself a break. A career of writing is made during a lifetime. Don’t rush the process.